New York City’s Empire State Building is arguably the world’s most iconic building of its era. Soaring nearly 1,500 feet (over 440 meters) into the air, the building contains 102 stories of office, commercial and retail space. Erected in 1931, the Empire State Building contains more than 6,400 windows. In the early 1990s, the performance of these windows inevitably began to suffer.
This was due mostly to weathering, but also to other environmental hazards associated with the building’s height.
As the failure of the windows became more acute, maintenance costs began to rise. Not only were the windows major sources of energy loss, they were also increasingly susceptible to damage from frost and leakage. In 1993, a project was undertaken to replace all 6,400 windows on the Empire State Building.
As if this task weren’t challenging enough, the project also required to preserve the historical appearance and integrity of the windows. When it came to matching the original color of the window frames and panels, PPG used its digital color matching system to replicate the exact color used on the building’s original windows using its long-lasting PPG DURANAR® coatings.
Made with Kynar 500® PVDF resin, PPG Duranar® coatings have been manufactured by PPG for over 50 years and provide long-lasting protection and durability to extruded architectural components made from aluminum and steel. Based on 70 percent PVDF resin and advanced pigment technologies, these coatings have demonstrated exceptional resistance to surface damage caused by environmental hazards —such as sea salt, humidity, winds, sunlight and acid rain— inflicted on structures like the Empire State Building.
Based on 70 percent Kynar 500® PVDF resin and advanced pigment technologies, these coatings have demonstrated exceptional resistance to surface damage caused by environmental hazards —such as sea salt, humidity, winds, sunlight and acid rain— inflicted on structures like the Empire State Building.
In 2006, the owners of the Empire State Building installed a new air conditioning system in the building. This rendered 400 of the 6400 windows obsolete. The ability to match the color of the windows installed 13 years earlier (in 1993) was critical. Fortunately, the windows had lost none of their luster due to the exceptional chalk and fade resistance of PPG Duranar® coatings. PPG was able to replicate exactly the customized Empire Red color it had created and digitally preserved years earlier. After extensive planning with architects, PPG utilized its advance colormatching capabilities from initial concept images, and developed nine custom coating colors for the project.
As a result, there was no discernable color difference between the 400 new windows and those installed 13 years earlier, thus highlighting the advanced weathering resistance and stability of coatings made with Kynar 500® PVDF resin. These new windows, together with the windows that were replaced earlier, are expected to last the life of the building. As reported in Energy User News Magazine, the Empire State Building’s Facilities Manager expects to achieve annual energy savings of approximately $1 million annually following the replacement of the windows.